There’s a first time for everything

2014-04-16 19:14:16.000 – Kaitlyn O`Brien,  Weather Observer/Education Specialist


It sure has been a busy week up here on the summit! There were a lot of ‘firsts’ that I’ve been able to check off the list as a full-time summit employee.

This week, I coded the longest observation I’ve done so far. One afternoon, we had six different cloud layers, which is the maximum number of layers you can include in a METAR report. Additionally, there were several remarks that had to be included, specifically variable cloud cover, distant haze, and both altocumulus and stratocumulus lenticular clouds. For an observer in training, it certainly was a challenge!

On Monday, I conducted my first Distance Learning program. I spoke to a group of 5th graders and gave them a virtual tour of the weather room, as well as explained the lifestyle of an observer and the work we do every day. It was a success and I enjoyed it very much!

Later that evening, I had my first experience taking preventative measures to ensure minimal flooding in the Observatory tower. Because I am not familiar with the winter routines on the summit, Ryan offered to show me what should be done around the tower prior to receiving warm temperatures. After dinner, we dug out our living room window to ensure the melting snow and ice did not seep inside. It’s one thing to shovel snow in your driveway on a calm morning, but it’s a very different experience shoveling snow in gusty 70mph winds!

This week, I also experienced my first shift change delay. Due to the heavy rain and above-freezing temperatures we received last night compounded with the snow and high winds this morning, our shift change will be taking place tomorrow morning instead of today. As a result, I had the opportunity to perform my first ‘Live from the Rockpile’ program this afternoon, giving visitors at the Weather Discovery Center a chance to virtually connect with the summit weather room. I was thrilled!

It’s safe to say it was a productive week. I look forward to the many new things I will learn on each shift that lies ahead!


Kaitlyn O`Brien,  Weather Observer/Education Specialist

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